the working mom balancing act
Let me be frank here: this topic has been written about on many occasions and many platforms, so I am aware of that. But I feel that every woman who has ever written about their struggle to obtain the work/life/mom balance has her own perspective, experience and certainly her own reality. I find each and every one of them unique and raw because no two experiences are quite the same.
But I'm fairly new to this whole working mom thing, so let me vent.
(Sorry, I mean... let me give you my perspective and current dilemma.)
I've only been a mom for 18 months. 14 of those months, I've been working.
Now this will come as no surprise...
IT'S FUCKING HARD.
There, I said it and yes moms, I feel your pain and now I finally sympathize with you. I don't think it necessarily matters how many children you have - if you're a mom and working full time or part time, you're still faced with the same challenges, others are just multiplied. But at the end of the day, we're all just trying to survive and......keep......our.......kiddos......alive.
And our hubbies satisfied.
And our houses clean.
And our fridges stocked.
And the laundry done.
Case in point: Our nanny couldn't come to work one morning due to personal reasons. I get the text message 1 hour before I have to leave for work and I still have to shower, eat, feed my son, and fend him off while getting ready for work (he has a tendency to pilfer through our bathroom drawers, toss books around, hide in bed sheets and go through trash).
Did I mention to you that we are knee-deep in finishing our basement, so I have tradespeople coming into our home to work throughout the day, requiring constant coordination and ongoing dialogue with our contractor (who is a gem by the way). Thank god my mother in law came to the rescue, but I nearly lost my mind when I was trying to coordinate the painter for our basement, figure out how she was going to get into the house, trying to schedule it around my husband's schedule, ensuring they do simple things like lock the door when they're done.
Seems simple I guess but the anxiety-ridden, OCD person in me was screaming for help. And I was secretly hoping my hubby would be a little less calm and nonchalant about the situation.
But he was not. He was not sweating any small stuff and here I was losing my mind and my marbles because I am always the one to take on all the things he doesn't think to consider or realize, need to be done. And it was at this very moment where I felt like I was lost on a raft....slowly drifting away....towards the Bermuda Triangle.
So, the million dollar question is....can a woman have it all?
The million dollar answer is: she cannot.
Let me rephrase that: I believe that women can have it all, just not at the same time and I think having it all means something different to everyone. It's like thinking we're perfect. Well we are not. All we can do is achieve the best balance we know how and what works for us. For some, its more of a chaotic, scattered balance and for others, its a military, itemized list of things to do down to the tee. Balance is relative and however we go about achieving that, is a personal thing. Or in some cases, an obsession. Here are just a few ways I try to achieve some balance in my life (and yes, I am flawed and often question my way, altering it along the way, but in general, this works for me):
- I am the consummate list person. Or else my memory fails me and I forget everything. I use Anylist to create lists for everything - groceries, Costco, Grayson items, Home Items. You name it, I have a list for it.
- I don't overbook myself. I used to be real good at this....I would try and jam in a ton of activities, drink and dinner dates, family time etc into a short time frame. I literally ran myself rampant, causing so much stress I had to to just cool the f*** down.
- My friends are my case studies. I look at how some of my friends balance everything that's on their plate. Sometimes they offer great solutions or have alternative ways to do stuff which may work for me. I've learned many a great tips from them over the years for which I am eternally grateful.
- I find peace in the calm, slow, uneventful days. Yes, even when I'm lazy and don't really have any plans or structure to the day, these can bring on the most balance in my life.
- Pick Three. If you haven't read Randi Zuckerberg's book, Pick Three, You Can Have it All (Just Not Everyday), I highly recommend it. Or at the very least, adopt the suggestions she has outlined in terms of picking three categories to which you will accomplish those things in, within one day. They are family, friends, fitness, sleep and work. It's not rocket science, but its amazing when you prioritize certain things everyday, and you're not beating yourself up because you can't accomplish everything in one day. You stick to the buckets, knowing you can switch them up the next day.
- Focus, focus, focus. This is something that is a work in progress for me. I find it incredibly hard to focus on one thing at a time. My mind just doesn't work like a solo machine - it has many functions, neurotic. But, I'm slowly learning to focus on one thing and do it well. Taking the time to immerse myself in the simple pleasures. When I'm hanging out with my son, I do my best to focus just on him - whether its sitting next to him while he watches a show, play with him, read books or hang outside. No distractions, no multi-tasking. Just simple play.